Venable LLP litigation partner Bruce Parker has been named president of The International Association of Defense Counsel, beginning a year-long tenure as head of the oldest and most prestigious organization for corporate litigators and outside defense counsel.
The IADC is comprised of senior defense attorneys representing many of the world's largest corporations, including most of the leading international insurance companies. Founded in 1920, the group has some 2,400 members in the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia, Mexico and Europe. IADC attorneys, selected by invitation by their peers, come from a wide range of law firms and corporate law departments contending with class actions, product liability suits, mass torts, enforcement actions and prosecutions, and other complex litigation, criminal as well as civil.
Mr. Parker became IADC president-elect in 2005; as incoming president for the next year, he succeeds Greg M. Lederer. Mr. Parker has previously served as the director of IADC's popular Trial Academy, and has been a three-year member of IADC's Board of Directors. In stepping up to the presidency, Mr. Parker brings an ambitious set of goals for the coming year, focusing on professional and practice development, including greater training of in-house lawyers on key defense strategies.
Mr. Parker's agenda centers around a few core concepts: improving IADC's extensive training opportunities for defense counsel; expanding key practice groups; and making a determined effort to reach out to target communities.
One of IADC's signature programs is its Trial Academy, a working course on courtroom skills conducted at Stanford University. This intensive trial advocacy course has become known as a "boot camp for trial lawyers" by those who attend. Now in its 34th season, this year's session will be held from July 29 to August 4. Mr. Parker plans to build on the success of the Trial Academy by offering two-day satellite programs on trial advocacy in different cities. He also plans to institute workshops to develop technical, management and advocacy skills for outside counsel members and corporate members.
Mr. Parker hopes to broaden practice development in areas of increasing importance in corporate defense, including white-collar crime, intellectual property litigation, life, health and disability insurance disputes, and health care law. On other fronts, he wants to intensify IADC's diversity efforts within the corporate defense community; convene up to 20 regional meetings around the country; and increase the IADC's amicus brief efforts.
"There's only so much you can accomplish in a single year, especially in a global organization whose members lead such packed professional lives," Mr. Parker said. "However, my hope is that these initiatives can advance our collective mission, which is to enhance professional excellence and best practices among corporate defense counsel, both inside and outside the corporation. We're also looking ahead to the next year as the 35th anniversary of our Trial Academy, which is the pre-eminent live refresher course on trial techniques. I'm hoping to further raise the IADC profile as we approach this milestone."
Karl A. Racine, Venable's managing partner and himself a longtime defense lawyer who has handled large-scale class actions, is a strong supporter of Mr. Parker's vision: "Bruce has been at the front lines of corporate defense issues and his leadership role at the IADC is a clear reflection of his dedication to the practice and the profession," Mr. Racine said.
"We are honored that one of our partners has stepped up to help guide the world's leading professional association of defense counsel for the coming year. I am confident that Bruce's agenda for the IADC will have a tremendous impact on the association's work internationally," Mr. Racine added.
Mr. Parker's own practice focuses on product liability and toxic tort litigation, with an emphasis on the pharmaceutical and health care industries, including defense of medical device liability claims.
Mr. Parker has been a member of the national trial teams in both the breast implant and latex glove litigations, and he has tried numerous cases to verdict in both litigations. He serves as national counsel in litigation involving diesel exhaust claims.
He has published frequently in a number of trial and defense journals, including the IADC's Defense Counsel Journal and has given presentations on a variety of complex issues affecting corporate defense work, such as epidemiology, immunology and statistics, as well as trial strategy and tactics.
Mr. Parker graduated first in his class from the Catholic University of America's Columbus School of Law in 1978 and received his B.A., with honors, from Johns Hopkins University in 1975. He is a member of the Maryland and District of Columbia bars.
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